According to the most recent figures available, some £5.9 billion worth of mortgages have been supported under the terms of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme since it first got underway. However while this figure is encouraging, and many people have been helped by the scheme, the number of houses available in some areas is much lower than it could be.
Over 40,000 mortgages approved under the scheme
The Help to Buy scheme was launched by the current Government in 2013. Since then 40,079 mortgages have gone through under the scheme. Nearly four in five of those went to first-time buyers.
However even though these figures are encouraging for those looking to buy their first property, research reveals there is a shortage of properties that would be eligible under the scheme. On average there is now 7.4% fewer homes available under the terms of the scheme than was the case in the previous year. Prices of these properties have also risen during the same period, by an average of 5.5%.
These averages hide the real figures that are in play in many parts of the country though. For example, Stockport has been revealed as the area where people are most likely to struggle to get ahead with the Help to Buy scheme because of a lack of available properties. Here, there are now 24.3% fewer properties available under the scheme than there were in the previous year.
Fortunately this picture is not replicated throughout the country as a whole. Indeed some areas now have more properties available via the scheme than they did a year ago. A good example of this is Exeter in Devon, where there are now an additional 3.2% worth of properties for sale. Worcester also has more properties available under the scheme, reaching an increase of 5.4% in a year.
What might happen when the scheme ends?
At the moment the scheme is slated to end next year. However we have an election taking place this May and this alone may change the way the scheme is run if another party should get into power.
However with that aside, there is a distinct possibility the market may get a lot tougher for those who only have the 5% deposit needed for the Help to Buy scheme purchases. While there are 95% LTV (loan to value) products on the market today, they are few and far between. Many will be hoping the number of products available to choose from in this area will rise before the scheme is wound up. If this does not occur, many of those with the smallest of deposits might find it difficult to get onto the housing ladder for the first time.
Recent years have seen a significant decrease in the number of first-time buyers borrowing money from their parents to get the deposit they need. If the scheme ends without many 95% LTV products to choose from, this trend could once again be reversed.